By Marie Lasater
Well known to all of Licking, Betty Crow celebrated her 90th birthday at the Fox Community Room July 1. It seems that everybody but Betty knew the party was for her. Daughter Suzanne Alexander began planning the celebration early this year, swearing everyone to secrecy. Apparently folks can keep a secret, because Betty thought she was attending a gathering for an unnamed politician from Edgar Springs that was being held in his honor. She really wanted to stay home, but agreed to attend when Suzanne told her it “wouldn’t look good if she didn’t go.”
Betty states, “I had no idea, so help me God! I didn’t have an inkling,” when she walked into a room with over 200 guests, all there to celebrate her birthday. The event was catered by Lee Williams, a long-time friend of the family, with live music provided by Two Far Gone.
When you’ve held as many roles as Betty Crow, you make a lot of friends. Born July 12, 1928, Betty was delivered at home by the doctor, as was the custom of the day, and attended Houston schools until she graduated. When she was 17, she went on a blind date with a handsome young man that had just gotten home from WWII named Wilford Crow, and they married in 1947.
Betty states, “I was old enough to marry without my parent’s permission, but not old enough to vote.” And marry without permission they did, “running off to get married.” Betty’s father had passed away, and her mother didn’t want her to marry Wilford, but “he won her over very quickly,” says Betty.
After 61 years of a wonderful marriage, Wilford passed away at the age of 82, in December of 2008. As his health gradually declined, Betty was at his side every day, encouraging him to eat. Wilford and Betty lived in Licking throughout their marriage. In their early years, Wilford traded for a cow, and when Betty was unable to milk it, he asked, “Didn’t your mother teach you how to milk a cow?” He presumably had no further complaints, and in addition to Wilford and Betty’s three children, Suzanne, Grant and Tom; they also have five grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Betty Crow is known as a strong Republican, but her family all were Democrats. Always interested in the political process, she was very excited when she turned 21 and was able to vote for the first time. She asked her father-in-law whom she should vote for when she cast her first ballot, and she will always remember his words, “It is your privilege to make your own decision.”
Not one to remain just a housewife, Betty was a hairdresser for 20 years, beginning when daughter Suzanne started kindergarten until she graduated college. While she was working as a hairdresser, she was appointed by the Governor to the State Board of Cosmetology, an important role that included overseeing the examination for cosmetology students. Betty still sees a lot of her former customers, and undoubtedly several attended her surprise party.
Betty Crow has served her community well. During the late 1980’s, Betty was appointed as Treasurer and ex-officio Collector of Revenue by Governor John Ashcroft, leaving to serve as Texas County Presiding Commissioner until 1994, not seeking re-election following her second term. She remains actively involved in politics, and is a highly respected member of the Texas County Federated Republican Women.
As Betty reflects back on her life, she denies having a secret to being so vibrant and active at age 90, saying “I feel lucky and blessed to have lived this long and have my health.” When asked what she looks forward to, she joking states “I look forward to another 90 years!” then adds, “I love to mow my yard. It is a time when I commune with nature and the Lord.”